- “Bloody fool.”
- ―Commander General Trimack, on Rahl[src]
Darken Rahl was the Lord Rahl and ruler of D'Hara, succeeding his father Panis Rahl. After his father's death, Rahl began delving into the dark legacy of the House of Rahl, becoming an agent of the Keeper and gaining the ability to command Subtractive Magic, in addition to Additive Magic.
When Darken Rahl was a young child, First Wizard Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander killed his father Panis Rahl with Wizard's Fire that was partially touched by the newly erected boundary. Darken's proximity to his father at the moment of his death meant he too was partially burned by the Wizard's Fire.
The loss of his father and the excruciating pain from the treatments he received for the burns drove Rahl mad and he began lusting for revenge against Zedd, who everyone in the Midlands and D'hara could no longer remember. The scars continued to plague him his entire life since almost every woman he took to his bed laughed at his scars. Between this time and the beginning of the "Darken Rahl Movement", Rahl became a vastly powerful Wizard by learning the use of subtractive magic, becoming an agent of the Keeper of the Underworld and learning the secrets to opening the Boxes of Orden.
Darken Rahl Movement
After years of plotting and scheming Rahl found a way to weaken the boundaries and build a vast army able to overtake the Midlands. Using harsh tactics and manipulation, Rahl even brought some of the flags of the Midlands under his banner.
Invading the Midlands
Upon invading the Midlands Rahl began seeking out and killing Confessors and Wizards. Rahl even sent garrisons of his own men into loyalist towns to slaughter the townspeople, saying it was the resistance to smear their name and increase sympathy for his cause. Calling himself "Father Rahl", he began brainwashing people into thinking he was the savior of the world.
Darken Rahl outlawed fire, which he viewed as evil, as it was fire (conjured by Zeddicus Zu'ul Zorander) that killed his father and severely wounded him. Without fire, the people of the Midlands were plunged into a world of darkness and cold. With the numbers of wizards and confessors dwindling, hope seemed lost for the Midlands and it seemed like Darken Rahl would conquer the three territories.
The Mord-Sith's pet
The House of Rahl has since the beginning using a group of women trained from a young age to serve the House of Rahl in every way. Called Mord-Sith, their weapon is the Agiel which causes unimaginable pain to whoever touches it, able to turn even the House of Rahl's most hardened enemies into mindless slaves. They also have the power to control another person's magic and use it against them, causing pain ten times worse than what the magic itself would have done.
- “Goodbye, Father Rahl. I trust you will die without my watching it.”
Darken Rahl was killed by his son, Richard Rahl. Richard used the Wizard's First Rule to trick Darken Rahl into opening the wrong Box of Orden. It was later revealed, however, that the Sword of Truth is necessary to open the correct box. Further, anyone who sought to use the Power of Orden for malicious or hateful purposes would automatically be destroyed upon opening a box. Thus, Darken Rahl was doomed from the beginning.
Later, Richard unintentionally summoned him back to the living world as a spectre. Darken Rahl's spectre attempted to tear the veil between the underworld and the living, releasing the Keeper of the underworld, but was stopped by Richard and sent back into the underworld where he continued to plot and scheme against Richard. It is revealed that Rahl escaped his fate into the Temple of the Winds, and when Richard enters the Temple, he finally banishes his father to his fate.
Personality and traits
Darken Rahl was viewed by many to be a vicious man. He was set on obtaining the power of the Boxes of Orden, which would give him undeniable control over the Creator's world, feeding his appetite for domination. He is very vengeful, and sometimes refers back to being caught in a blast of Wizard's Fire cast by Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander which killed his father, Panis Rahl. Due to the burn of Wizard's Fire needing to be untouched and treated over time, he burned for months to come. He developed the habit of licking the tips of his fingers and running them over his lips, or eyebrows as a means to bring comfort to his burns. He was also obsessed with animal kindness, consuming a vegetarian diet.
Powers and Abilities
- “What sort of fool would put the boxes of Orden in play before he had all three?"
"A very dangerous one. He travels the underworld.”
- ―Zedd and his mother[src]
Darken Rahl is the son of Panis Rahl, and therefore the gifted leader and master of D'Hara. He has the abilities of a Wizard through his gift. This magic also ensured Darken Rahl would produce one gifted son and, in accordance with its primary purpose, would protect him from control by a Dream Walker. In addition to all this, Darken Rahl had made agreements with the Keeper of the Underworld, allowing him limited control of subtractive magic.
In the People's Palace, his power would be further amplified by the spell form the Palace was made in the shape of.
Enemy Web: Darken Rahl was able to cast a web on Richard Rahl that would make Richard's friends see him as Darken Rahl while Darken Rahl's followers would see him as himself. The web was so powerful that even the First Wizard Zedd couldn't see through it.
Knowledge of Spell Forms: Darken Rahl was very knowledgeable about the art of spell forms as indicated by Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander. He was able to easily and perfectly replicate the spell forms mentioned in the Book of Counted Shadows.
Conjuring: Darken Rahl was also able to conjure a Guard Beast, a creature from the underworld to guard things. Rahl used this beast to guard the Book of Counted Shadows, but it was defeated by the combined efforts of Prelate Annalina Aldureen, Prophet Nathan Rahl and George Cypher.
Subtractive Magic: Through his contract with the Keeper of the Underworld, Darken Rahl gained the use of Subtractive Magic, allowing him to combat any spell drawn in Additive. Rahl's use of this power made wizards no threat to him. He also had the power to spell his soldiers to make any magic used against them reflect back at the wizard who cast it.
Immunity to Confession: Zedd noted in Wizard's First Rule that before Kahlan had entered the Con Dar, Rahl's magic made him immune to confession. In the entire series, Darken Rahl is the only other person than Richard who is immune to her touch. Rahl also had the power to make his soldier's temporarily immune to confession as seen in the case with Denmin Nas.
**NOTE: Darken Rahl's immunity to a Confessor's touch was due to the magic of Orden. There is no contextual evidence of how he was able to protect Demmin Nas from the touch; however, it can be deduced that because a Confessor's power (aside from the Con Dar) is Additive, Darken Rahl was able to create a web of Subtractive magic to prevent the Confessor's power from taking Demmin Nas (Possibly by removing what little love the man had in his heart, therefore making the manipulation of the Confessor's power impossible).
Understanding of Magic: Darken Rahl understood magic enough to master Wizard's First Rule, by doing so, he proved that he had the potential strength and ability of a Wizard of the First Order.
Behind the scenes
In Legend of the Seeker, a television series based on the Sword of Truth series, Darken Rahl is portrayed by Craig Parker, and contrary to the book series is Richard's, and Jennsen Rahl's, half-brother, rather than father.